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Case Study 16. The Vulkaneifel in Germany – A Destination for Geotourism

ByP. Erfurt-Cooper

A Geopark is a nationally protected area containing a number of geological heritage sites of particular importance, rarity or aesthetic appeal. These Earth

Introduction With geotourism as an expression of a growing trend towards the natural as well as cultural landscape (Pforr and Megerle, 2006) geoparks appear to hold the future for tourism in designated areas on a global scale. One of these geoparks is the Vulkaneifel which covers approximately 2000km2 in the German State of Rhineland-Palatinate

Vulkaneifel consists of approximately 270 eruption centres (Vulkaneifel European Geopark, 2010b) which dominate the landscape. Volcanic maars and diatremes, remnant volcanoes and scoria cones, calderas (Laacher See) and mineral springs, lava and tephra layers, pumice deposits, tuff rings and columnar jointing are common volcanic features and although some of the older volcanoes have nearly eroded away, many of them are still visible. The origin of the volcanic activity in this region is suspected to be possibly related to hot spot activity, although the opinions differ. Due to the fact that some of the volcanic landforms have been dated as being of more recent times this has given rise to the assumption that the Vulkaneifel may not be as dormant as previously thought.